State Theatre, King’s Road
I recently did a little bit of wandering around the North Point/Quarry Bay area – not somewhere I know very well nor somewhere that I go very much despite spending my very first ‘official’ week living in Hong Kong staying at the nearby City Garden Hotel.
What can I say, my youngest (turns 3 next week) loves catching the tram and is constantly asking me if we can go to HK Island and ride them. So we caught the tram from outside Pacific Place and rode it too the North Point terminus. It truly is one of HK’s great forms of public transport and I can’t believe that the fare is still only $2 (okay, these days it’s $2.3 but seriously if you are going to quibble over 30 cents then you really are in the wrong place). So on the way he is sitting at the front with me looking out the window and we go past one of the coolect buildings I have seen in HK.
Now, me being the ignoramus I am immediately assumed this place was the famous Sunbeam Theatre that is closing imminently after many years as being the centre of Hong Kong’s Cantonese opera circuit, and went to get a few snaps. No, what a dufus (dufous, doofus?) I am because it turns out that this place has rather a bit more history than the relatively modern Sunbeam.
Rather than regurgitate everything here, it’s much better if I simply provide a link to the Cinema Treasures website where the ever-reliable Raymond Lo has also contributed some information about this theatre as well. Raymond must be one of the top experts on HK cinemas and I take my hat off to him.
I love this building and I hope the scaffolding outside isn’t the usual ominous sign of it coming down. Fo0llow the links on the CT website (posted in the comments) and you will see what it used to look like before the TLC stopped.
Anyway, if anyone has a few hundred million worth of venture capital that is burning a hole in their pocket, I know a little place that would be just the most ball crushingly awesome arthouse cinema, then feel free to drop me aline. Until then…
EDIT: I was recently re-examining some screen grabs from the exceedingly bad 1978 Game of Death and found that this theatre was the one I had been searching for which had appeared briefly on screen. Here is the link for those interested.